You’ve probably heard at some point that dogs like routines. The idea of following a routine makes things predictable. Predictability can be good. It can help in the day to day. For example, our dogs can learn that after the walk, it’s time to hang out in the crate with a tasty treat. Doing this routinely makes it all much smoother for so many dogs. One of my favorite things about following a routine is it helps make us more likely to meet the needs of our dogs. When we meet our dog’s needs, everyone is happier. They say a tired dog is a good dog. I say that an enriched dog is a happy dog that has less of a reason to look for their own enrichment. This means less counter surfing, garbage raiding and window barking.
They say a tired dog is a good dog. I say that an enriched dog is a happy dog that has less of a reason to look for their own enrichment.
Routines are especially helpful for things like leash walking. Dog’s that get walked very little generally are more “wild” on walks and pull a lot. Dogs that get walked routinely are much calmer because they “know the drill.” This also results in a person that is more willing to walk because it’s easier on them. If you’re looking to start a new routine, don’t do anything drastic. That may not be sustainable. Try starting off with mealtime enrichment twice per day at roughly the same time. From there, you can add in one thing at a time. Maybe after each meal you do a 10 minute walk. Or you can go out in the yard for 10 minutes and play with a toy or practice coming when called for food rewards. Husbandry is another great thing to add into the routine. Nail filing, teeth brushing, ear cleaning or overall brushing are all great things because they need to get done and are often put on the back burner. Whatever you’re able to do, it’ll be helpful. Your dog will start to look forward to it and it’ll help create a great bonding experience. And again, this will help provide enrichment which will lead to less unwanted behaviors.